Staying Clean and Sober – The Dangers of Relapse for Recovered Addicts and Alcoholics

Staying Clean and Sober – The Dangers of Relapse for Recovered Addicts and Alcoholics

For those who have never been touched by alcoholism or drug addiction, getting clean can seem like the simplest thing of all.

Many think that making it through the pain of detox and staying in a residential treatment center is all it takes and that those newly graduated individuals will go on to lead successful and drug-free lives.

For those who have been touched by drug addiction and alcoholism, however, the world looks a lot different.

Those with direct knowledge know that making it through the discomfort of detox and the difficulties of rehab are vital first steps, but that their path to lifelong recovery is just getting started.

For those who have made it through recovery, there is an ever-present danger, one that can derail even the most heartfelt attempts to stay clean and continue with their drug-free and alcohol-free lifestyles.

That danger is relapse, and it is always there, lurking in the background and ready to strike at every source of weakness.

It has been estimated that as many as 60 percent of recovered addicts will relapse at least once during their first year in recovery.

In fact, the first year of recovery is generally the most dangerous time, and it is important for those in recovery to work hard developing the coping skills and relapse prevention strategies that will ultimately pull them through.

There are a number of things that can make a relapse more likely, especially in those critical first 12 months.

As recovered addicts leave their residential treatment centers and move back home, it is important for them to recognize the change in attitude, tools, and skills that will address, and ultimately overcome them.

Some of these tools are taught in treatment, especially if there is a dual diagnosis that includes other factors such as eating disorders or undiagnosed mental health challenges.

The staff at these dual diagnosis treatment centers are experts at uncovering hidden traumas, issues that may be rooted in childhood but are still very real to the individuals involved.

Other skills will be learned in the days and months after leaving rehab, and these abilities could prove pivotal at preventing future relapse.

Recovered addicts and alcoholics, for instance, may attend weekly 12-step meetings in their communities, learning from and leaning on their fellow men and women to learn the skills they need.

However, sometimes this is not enough and someone recovering from substance use disorder will need more support than just 12 step meetings.

In these cases, they might need a transitional recovery program where there are high accountability and support for the person still recovered.

This ongoing support and guidance can make all the difference in the world, giving recovered addicts a new lease on life and helping them stay drug and alcohol-free long after that critical first year has ended.

Relapse is a very real danger for those in recovery, and those with a history of addiction and alcoholism recognize that every day is another opportunity to remain clean and sober.

Whether you are the one in recovery or you are helping a friend or family member, understanding what relapse is, how it works, and why it is important can be a huge help in the lifelong struggle for sobriety.


If you want help with a transitional living program that can help young adults stay sober while pursuing college or work, you should talk to our admissions staff.

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